Blair Tickner is hoping the trauma New Zealand has gone through as a nation due to Cyclone Gabrielle will help bring the Test squad together.
Tickner's hometown of Hawke's Bay, on the east coast of the country's north island, has borne the brunt of the cyclone, which has been labelled as the fiercest storm the nation has experienced in living memory.
The official death toll stands at 11 but thousands of homes have been damaged beyond repair.
Tickner, who made his Test debut in the heavy defeat to England at the Bay Oval last week, was given special dispensation to leave the squad and assist the rebuild efforts in Hawke's Bay.
The 29-year-old linked back up with the Black Caps squad in Wellington and, ahead of the second Test starting on Friday at Basin Reserve, believes the team has been brought closer together by the catastrophe.
"I definitely want to get my first win in Test match cricket and really want to do it for the people in Hawke's Bay," he said of the extra motivation he has heading into the second Test.
"Now we've banded together as a team and fundraising this money I think it's going to be very special."
NEWS | @ANZAotearoa & NZC have announced that the BLACKCAPS v Sri Lanka ODI at Eden Park on March 25 will be a fundraiser match for the NZ Red Cross Disaster Fund.— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) February 21, 2023
ANZ will pledge $1 million at the match & NZC will donate its ticket revenue to the cause.https://t.co/lrgbHPL33i
Explaining the damage in his hometown, an emotional Tickner said: "My father's house has been fully destroyed.
"It was good to get back and help them out. And, obviously, it's hard times for the whole region so helping out neighbours and whoever we could.
"Luckily enough, the Central Stags cricket team was helping alongside us. It has been tough. It's really tough at the moment. But [people in] Hawke's Bay are staying strong.
"Obviously, you grow up there as a kid and it's just crazy. A bit hard to talk about, really. There are so many damaged little parts of Hawke's Bay I haven't even seen yet.
"You sort of just get to work: people are just walking down the road and just asking people if they need help and it has just been awesome to see the region pulling together."
England won by 267 runs in the first Test, meaning the best New Zealand can hope for from the two-match series is a draw.
Under the tutelage of New Zealand great Brendon McCullum's coaching and Ben Stokes' captaincy, England have won 10 of their last 11 Tests while playing a thrilling brand of cricket dubbed 'Bazball'.
The fastest ever England captain to 10 Test wins— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 19, 2023
Absolute legend @benstokes38 #NZvENG pic.twitter.com/xrlkFXeKaR
Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes is enjoying the freedom.
"It kind of feels like club cricket," said Foakes. "When I first came in, the pressures involved in Test cricket were so extreme and you were so worried about playing a false shot and things like that.
"Sometimes now you can get out in a weird way and it's a kind of a joke."
England out to extend winning streak
England have won their last four Tests against New Zealand, after going winless across their seven meetings prior in the format (D3, L4).
The last time they enjoyed a longer winning run against the Black Caps was a six-match span from February 1963 to July 1965.
Stokes' team have won their last six Tests. England last had a better such run in the format back in 2004, when they won eight in a row.
Skippers Stokes and Williamson close in on records
Stokes (194) is six away from becoming the 16th player to take 200 wickets for England in men's Tests.
However, Stokes' Test bowling strike rate against New Zealand (110.8) is his highest against any team.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (7,651 runs), meanwhile, is 33 away from becoming the all-time leading run scorer for New Zealand in men's Tests.